Fiery humor captured in new Rod & Reel Pier T-shirts

rdymond@bradenton.comOctober 5, 2013 

MANATEE -- Extra hot chicken wings.

Roasted oysters.

Smokin' hot dogs.

Charred, not blackened, grouper.

Seared crab cake sandwich.

An Anna Maria Island screen printing business has taken the menu of the closed-by-fire Rod & Reel Pier restaurant and added a twist of blackened humor to it to create 100 of what could be collectible shirts.

But it's all for a good cause, said Joan Carter, president of Anna Maria's J & J Graphics ScreenPrinting, creator of the cotton tees, which could raise a smile or two during a tough time for the restaurant.

All the money raised will go to All Island Denominations, the six-church Island organization which has committed to helping the 30 temporarily out of work employees of the Rod & Reel Pier, which had a fire in the kitchen at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Carter said.

Dave Cochran, manager of the Rod & Reel Pier, on Friday said he liked the fiery shirt idea when Carter showed him a mock-up Thursday.

"It's humorous," Cochran said. "We think it's fine, and we're grateful that the community has gotten together to help us."

The shirt also has the Rod & Reel logo and the phrase: "Established in 1947. Got smoked 2013."

"I'm not selling the shirt," Carter said. "We came up with the idea as a way to raise money for All Island Denominations, which is helping the employees of the Rod & Reel Pier with emergency rent and utility funds."

Carter has had Rod & Reel Pier as a long-time client, producing their hats, shirts and other items.

As to the million-dollar question, "When will you reopen?" Cochran said he doesn't have a timetable yet.

"We are waiting to get clearance to go ahead and proceed to getting it back

open," Cochran said Friday. "As soon as we get the fire inspection over and insurance taken care of, we are planning on getting on it. We plan on getting open as soon as possible. I'm expecting to get the 'go ahead' phone call anytime now. But beyond that I don't have a time estimate."

The Rev. Gary Batey of Roser Community Church, one of the churches that comprise All Island Denominations, on Friday said the extra money from the shirt sale will help.

"We distribute about $12,000 to $15,000 annually for all the needs on the island," Batey said of All Island Denominations. "This will double the need, depending on how long this goes on."

Batey visited the damaged restaurant Tuesday.

"You can see smoke and water damage," Batey said. "Things are pulled down from the ceiling, and they had to move equipment out of the way. There's a lot of cosmetic damage. I couldn't tell about structural damage."

Roser Community Church recently gave Rod & Reel Pier employees groceries from its food bank, Batey said.

J & J Graphics donated the 100 shirts, Carter said. The shirts cost $20 and right now can be purchased just at J&J Graphics, 9701 Gulf Dr., Anna Maria beginning 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. All sales need to be in cash or check made out to All Island Denominations, Carter said.

The shirts will be sky blue Gildan Ultra cotton tees with a back print and a small left chest print.

For an additional $5 donation, other color shirts can be ordered and printed within four days, Carter said.

Any other organization which wishes to sell the shirts can call J & J Graphics at 941-778-6541.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.

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